The Early Years' Creative Curriculum, A Guide

You probably won't have heard of the Creative Curriculum yet, as its really rather new, however as the system has been developed by Early Years' educators for Early Years' educators wanted to find out more...
The Early Years' Creative Curriculum, A Guide
By C Hoppe
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Developed in 1988, the Creative Curriculum is really rather new. Based on the US Common Core, the curriculum attempts to compensate for what practitioners believed to be the shortfalls associated with many of the other older Early Years' systems while incorporating modern teaching practises.

The system is known for its strong focus on literacy right from the tiny-tots, together with the understanding that children learn best through play and risk-taking.

The Creative Curriculum is owned by US based 'Teaching Strategies,' and boasts continuous research by independent researchers and a firm focus on its teacher development. met founding director Ashleigh Thompson at the IDEA Early Learning Centre, Dubai’s first Creative Curriculum centre based in Sports City, Dubai to find out more...


Ashleigh, what exactly is the Creative Curriculum?
The US Creative Curriculum was designed using the knowledge of early years experts from around the world. Each child is focused on as an individual and their developmental steps are measured so they make progress from their starting points. The creative curriculum knows the importance of encouraging exploration and independence.

Woven throughout all learning are the skills discovering and questioning. This allows the children’s confidence, creative and critical thinking skills to be developed and nurtured. There are thirty-eight objectives include milestones and objectives that align with EYFS, IB and other US early curricula making a seamless transition to primary and elementary schools.

The curriculum was designed to align with the common core standards of the United States and it covers all areas of a child’s development and content learning. This defines the knowledge, skills and behaviors that are so important to children’s future success in many school curricula and in later life.


The creative curriculum was created by teachers- for teachers, can you explain this idea a little more please?
Crafted and developed by teachers, creativity is central to the core of this curriculum. It gives trust back to the teachers so that they can plan measured risks that let learning flow. This learning is grouped into ‘studies’ which are the tried and tested themes that teachers know children need to experience. Through first hand, theme-based discovery, teachers provide children with activities that have been put together by experienced professionals.

There are various training and development opportunities that come hand in hand with the Creative Curriculum. On demand webinars on a range of topics are available to teachers and there are regular live webinars that teachers can participate in so that their knowledge is kept up to date.


If the Creative Curriculum is based on the US Common Core, can parents expect problems later if they attempt to put their child into an IB or UK school after a 'Creative KG experience?'
The Creative Curriculum provides an excellent framework for children to transfer. It allows for transition into lots of countries or educational systems.

Everyone knows the nature of Dubai means that children might not stay in one setting for a long period of time. The Creative Curriculum ensures that they are well equipped for the next stage of their education, wherever that may be.


What do you think are the benefits of staying in the Creative curriculum right up until six years old?
Early childhood education is a journey and children should progress through this journey in a way that is individual to them. Childhood is precious and the time that children spend being ‘children’ should be valued. If parents are always pushing children to be older than their years, are they pressurising them to grow up too fast? If the important skills are fast-forwarded, children could be at risk of having lower personal and social development. Children’s development should be cherished and their early years’ education should allow for skilled practitioners to celebrate individual journeys.


What are the fundamental principles of the creative curriculum?

  • Positive interactions and relations with adults provide a critical foundation for successful learning
  • Social-emotional competence is a significant factor in school success
  • Constructive, purposeful play supports essential learning
  • The physical environment affects the type and quality of learning interactions
  • Teacher-family partnerships promote development and learning


How is the Creative Curriculum designed?
Questions such as: “Who lives in trees?”, “What makes balls move?”, “How do we make and keep friends?” and “What special clothes do people wear?” are commonplace examples in the Creative Curriculum across all age ranges. These practical studies are practical develop confidence and creativity.

Children aged one to six years ask questions, articulate answers and share information. Sharing and discussing ideas and thoughts is important. By exploring the different learning areas in the classroom, on the playground and in the outdoor areas, children experience learning to help build their understanding and strengthen their inquiry skills. With these skills and experiences children will work to discover answers, create new questions and broaden their understanding.

There is a strong focus on communication, language and literacy skills. Literacy is part of all areas of planning such as in math, social skills, language, problem solving, social-emotional, science and technology, the arts, social studies, and physical activities. Daily learning includes a variety of activities such as read alouds, choice time and small group work. At different times of the day children create group stories and books, discuss questions and topics and strengthen listening skills.


What is the Assessment system and frequency in the Creative Curriculum?
Teaching Strategies recommend the use of a system called ‘Gold.’ However, before teachers can assess using Gold, they have to complete tests themselves to ensure accuracy. Assessment in the classroom is always observational of children playing. A color banded continuum across ten areas, covering thirty-eight objectives, is shared with teachers, leadership and parents can access current stages of development.

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